22 thoughts on “Bill Gates’ Paltry Vision”

  1. Or have blown it all chasing after CATS. Technology innovation is pulled forward by economic demand, its not pushed very well. That is why England developed steam engine technology and not the Romans. And why the United States dominated in telegraphs, telephones, autos and aviation technology, not England.

    ISRU, not CATS or NASA contracts, is the route to creating a Solar System wide economy.

    1. ISRU is an intrinsic part of CATS. And you’re not going to be exploiting in situ resources, if you can’t get to them in an affordable enough manner.

      1. That is exactly the type of thinking that has kept us stuck here. Its not a matter of lowering the cost of going to the Moon, its a matter of focusing on markets that will justify the expensive of doing so.

        1. That is exactly the type of thinking that has kept us stuck here.

          You’ll have to explain that to me sometime when I’m more gullible. In the meantime, I’ll note that what I mentioned looks more to me like a fact than an act of thinking, much less a counterproductive act of thinking.

  2. Gates was never much of a visionary. He was blindsided by the rise of the Internet, Linux on servers, and so many other things. He is most well known for the despicable tactics he imposed on vendors and by treating his clients like they were scum. Now that he does not have to bother actually working for a living he still gets around talking like this.

    So how was your investment on Teledesic Bill?

    1. “He is most well known for the despicable tactics he imposed on vendors and by treating his clients like they were scum.”

      “You’re right, Lou. But, first you’ve got to get to the Big Time. Then, you can be a pillar and do good things.” – Bud Fox, Wall Street

  3. “if I had Bill Gates’ money,” well you don’t.

    However, Paul Allen is investing into StratoLaunch,
    Elon Musk is doing SpaceX,
    Jeff Bezos is doing Blue Origins
    Branson has Virgin Galactic.
    Bigelow has Bigelow Space.
    Tito has his Mars Mission.

    Hypothetically, if Bill Gates were to invest into a space business, say he wanted to invest a billion dollars of “Mad Money”, what should it be?

    A Launcher?
    a space station?
    a satellite service?
    A satellite constellation?
    a space tug business?

    essentially, if someone wanted to risk a billion on a high risk business, what should they do?

    1. Gates was involved in Teledesic many years ago. That experience may color his opinion about space businesses.

      If I had a spare billion to risk on a space business, I’d probably look for something that had a reasonable chance on turning a profit. Satellite communications services have probably been the most profitable. Satellite imagery can make money but the biggest customers are probably governments. If I didn’t care about making money (a trait uncommon among most billionaires), I’d try to buy into SpaceX or Sierra Nevada.

      Personally, I’m working on my second billion. I gave up on the first.

  4. Simple, develop spome technology to the point that all a lunar settlement will need from Earth are settlers… A billion should be enough to do it in a matter that will launch it on a path that would be self-sustaining.

  5. “As I tweeted yesterday, if I had Bill Gates’ money, I’d own the universe by now.”

    I would own a spaceport.
    The spaceport would launch rockets from the ocean.
    Need a small island, with airport, and with deep water port.
    And need a government which supports going into space- make
    such a government, as there isn’t one at the moment.
    The fundamental premise of the government is based on natural human right to leave Earth and return to Earth. And this government would spend some effort with the UN, to have this right recognized.

    1. gbaikie,

      Yes, the Republic of Kiribati fits all of the above.


      Formerly English, now independent but use English Common Law, another important factor you missed that is critical to free enterprise.

      Population 103,000. Small enough to give every one a piece of the action. Don’t just buy the government, buy everyone 🙂

      They are astride the Equator, nice for Easterly launches, especially to a space station/fuel depot in an low equatorial orbit. They also have a number of old military airfields one the islands, some with very long runways.

      And best of all they never signed the Outer Space Treaty or any of the other space treaties 🙂 Land grab anyone?

      1. Yes, Kiribati seems like it could be good. The Japanese thought it was good:
        In November 1999 it was announced that Japan’s National Space Development Agency planned to lease land on Kiritimati (Christmas Island) for 20 years, on which to build a spaceport. The agreement stipulated that Japan was to pay US$840,000 per year and would also pay for any damage to roads and the environment. A Japanese-built downrange tracking station operates on Kiritimati and an abandoned airfield on the island was designated as the landing strip for a proposed reusable unmanned space shuttle called HOPE-X. HOPE-X, however, was eventually cancelled by Japan in 2003.”
        Also from this tour guide thing:
        Nationals and citizens of the following countries specified are exempted from obtaining a visa before entering Kiribati:
        (Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Greece, Hong Kong (only in respect of holders of British Nationals Overseas passports and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports), Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Poland, Portugal, Romania, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Bahamas, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United Kingdom Overseas Territories of (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands), United States of America, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe).”
        So despite being separate nation, it seems they make easier to travel there. They might also feel the same about people from space 🙂

        Anyhow, not really thinking having much land- but would launch from ocean, but launch from ocean near island(s) where there is travel and transportation infrastructure. Kiribati also seems to have pretty weather in terms launching rockets. And is fairly near Sea Launch launches.
        It seems to be a paradise for billionaires who want to go into space.

        1. gbaikie,

          Yes, the Japanese were going to use the old RAF base that was used for nuclear testing in the 1950’s. The runways need some repair but are still usable.

          Not surprised on not needing a visa as they need revenue. Currently about 25% of the annual GDP of $173 million is foreign aid. Annual government spending is $103 million with a national debt of $10 million.

          In short, a deep pocket billionaire jump starting their economy (local work force is only about 8,000) with a spaceport would likely be seen as a hero, and given a blank check to do as they wish.

          BTW It was briefly considered for Project Apollo in the 1960’s, but of course not having any Congress Critters to funnel pork to was a non-starter despite it clear advantages for launch and recovery. However Apollo Moon missions were all recovered nearby as the Eastern Pacific is a hard target to miss… In the late 1960’s Bob Truax also viewed it as the ideal location for the Sea Dragon.

  6. If Gates thought for ONE nano-second that his copyrights here on Earth covered the entire Solar System, he’d be PUSHING for a Mars Colony. But as yet, he has not been able to find a lawyer, who can find in inter-planetary law, any provisions that say his copyrights are good, beyond the Van Allen Belt.

    1. Forget Gates, just tell Disney that their copyrights won’t apply in space unless they have a presence there and you’ll see some action.

  7. Or to get some real action, tell Apple that their patents won’t cover cislunar space and beyond unless they have a presence out there.

    Maybe Apple will get a patent on a launch vehicle in the shape of a cylinder with a cone on top, and the engines on the bottom. Call it the iRocket, perhaps.

  8. I would fund all kinds of space prizes. Then you can cherry pick the winners for some form of partnership.

    1. Valdislaw,

      You mean like Sir Branson did the X-Prize winner? Yep, a great strategy for failure…

      1. You mean like Sir Branson did the X-Prize winner? Yep, a great strategy for failure…

        And success. We’ll see which comes.

      2. Thomas …. except .. Sir Richard Branson did not fund the X-Prize, the Ansari family did.

        Lets see… 600 backlogged orders for a future service … 120 million backlog … that is already half of his investment. A lot of companies would like to have that kind of backlog.

  9. If I had Bill Gate’s money, I’d be richer than almost anyone else, and Bill Gates would be working until he died to pay off his wife’s debts…

  10. Ok so What would you start with?
    According to Forbes Bill has about 67Billion. I’m sure most of which is not liquid. So lets say he changes his mind and liquidates 10% of that for his newest venture. Where should he start investing?
    Personally I would go pump a few hundred million into long term research.
    -Development of a LEO capable light gas gun.
    -Development of power plants (small nuclear? polywell fusion? large solar reflectors?)
    -Develop a Space Elevator prototype.

    Then do some mid term goals with the use of prizes:
    – few million for the first person to climb Mt Everett while wearing a space suit.
    – few million for the first company to build a underground habitat on the moon (using robots)
    -few million for a sensor that can remotely detect metallic content of an asteroid.

    Then I would fund development of stuff that is within our tech base.
    – Contract with Xspace to build at least two Bigelow space station for use as a stepping stones. (one in LEO and a second one at L5)
    – Start a LEO fuel depot. (have a set fee, “For the next 5 years I will pay $X for every lb of fuel delivered. I don’t care how it gets there.”)

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